By Sioux Falls Thunder FC
Sioux Falls Thunder FC picked up their first win of the 2021 season in a 4-1 win against Dakota Fusion FC thanks to strong efforts from Juan Mackrey and Stevenson Storm. The windy Saturday evening didn’t stop a deluge of goals despite cautious initial play from both sides.
The game opened defensively, with both teams looking to put a mark in the win column. A remarkable free kick from Storm in the 19th minute bolstered the Thunder side’s confidence, leading to a shot from forward Tyler Limmer rebounding off the Fusion crossbar less than a minute later. The Fusion made a substitution at the 30th minute in an effort to get fresh legs on the field, but the idea felt short as Mackrey scored in the 33rd minute off a Tyler Limmer pass to the top of the box. The Fusion had a chance to equalize off of a misplaced punt from Thunder goalkeeper Federico Simonetti, but the Thunder recovered. The Thunder went into halftime up 2-0 with just five shots in total. They held this lead closely when Thunder defender Bigirimani Omari picked up a yellow card for a foul just outside the box, but the Fusion shot was a comfortable save for Simonetti.
The Thunder once again opened strong with Mackrey’s second goal in the 53rd minute, the result of Thunder combination play. Two substitutions for the Fusion in the 61st minute preceded two yellow cards in the 65th minute, one for each side. A Fusion breakaway occurred in the 70th minute, but the shot went wide, giving them their best chance of the game and a glimpse of hope. Confusion in the box led to the Fusion’s first goal on their home field and their first goal against the Thunder, as a bouncing ball meandered into the box. Despite the nature of the goal, it infused the Fusion with renewed energy, and they pressured the Thunder heavily for the remainder of the game, hoping to get in the goals needed to equalize.
Simonetti stopped these efforts with two back- to-back stops in the 82nd and 83rd minutes. The Fusion ran out of steam as the clock ran out, and another late substitution couldn’t save them. Storm sealed the deal in extra time with a volley inside the box in the 93rd minute. The finish was a collection from a bouncing ball off a sparsely-defended Thunder free kick.
The Thunder are back on the road against Joy St. Louis Park on Wednesday, June 2 before beginning a two-game home stretch on Saturday, June 5.
Photo Credit: Sioux Falls Thunder FC